Forest Service Halts Sale of Mineral Leases until Further Review

Release Date: Nov 15, 2011

Contact(s): Gary C. Chancey

Nelsonville, OH–Wayne National Forest Supervisor Anne Carey announces today that the USDA Forest Service has withdrawn over 3000 acres of public lands from a federal oil and gas lease sale scheduled for December 7, 2012.

 “Based on new information and increased public interest on natural gas exploration, especially deep horizontal drilling, the Forest will soon assemble a team of natural resource specialists to do further analysis,” said Carey. “This group will review the best scientific information available with regard to the surface effects of deep horizontal drilling and lateral hydraulic fracturing.”

The Review of New Information (RONI) will assist the Forest in making a decision whether the 2006 Forest Plan needs to be amended or revised. The review could take up to six months and will disclose the effects on the surface that’s associated with this new technology.

 Carey adds, “Conditions have changed since the 2006 Forest Plan was developed. The technology used in the Utica & Marcellus Shale formations need to be studied to see if potential effects to the surface are significantly different than those identified in the Forest Plan.

 The proposed sale, administered by the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management Eastern States office included five parcels of national forest lands in Athens, Gallia, and Perry Counties.  Details of the sale can be found at:

 Currently, the Wayne National Forest has almost 1300 oil and gas wells located mostly on the Athens Ranger District-Marietta Unit in Washington and Monroe Counties. Additional information about the Wayne National Forest is available at .  Follow the Wayne National Forest on Twitter: @waynenationalfs

 The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.